Social media is becoming a more integral piece of our lives with each passing day. Participating in these online communities comes with a number of benefits, such as interpersonal engagement, lively discussion, and photo sharing. However, there are also reasons to tread carefully–especially when filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Status updates, comments, and photos can easily be used to disprove your claim. For example, if you have sustained a shoulder injury due to a car accident, sharing photos of you throwing a frisbee at Kensico Dam Plaza would not be the wisest idea. You may be having a good day and additional shoulder mobility exercise may have been recommended by your doctor, but you can bet that the insurance company’s lawyers will do their best to exploit the photos of you in front of this iconic Westchester County landmark. If you are taking legal action because you tripped and fell over a parking curb stop, opposing lawyers could very well take advantage if you choose to share video showing you on a fast paced run from Yorktown to Millwood on the North County Trailway.
So how do you navigate social media without jeopardizing your personal injury case? There are a few ways, and they not only apply to these circumstances, but to internet safety in general.
First, adjust your privacy settings. This is very easy to do on Facebook by clicking the dropdown menu in the upper right-hand corner of the site. Then, click “settings” and, finally, “privacy.” This is where you can control who sees your personal posts and the posts that you are tagged in. When it comes to Twitter and Instagram, take similar precautionary measures.
Second, be weary of friend requests. Do not follow, connect with, or friend anyone you do not know in person. You do not know who is hiding behind that profile and they could be looking for evidence against you.
Third, simply be aware. If your friends are taking pictures while you’re throwing that frisbee, kindly ask them not to post it. A good rule of thumb is to remember that anything posted on the Internet never disappears.
Ultimately, anything you post publicly is fair game for opposing lawyers. So use care and good judgment when engaging with social media during your personal injury case.